RHINELANDER — After deliberating for less than two hours, a jury found 30-year-old Ellen Tran of Rhinelander guilty of reckless homicide in connection with the death of her toddler stepson.
WJFW reports Tran showed no expression as she was placed in handcuffs and walked out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies. She now faces up to 60 years in prison when sentenced.
Eight men and four women reviewed four days worth of evidence in this case, ultimately deciding Tran caused the death of 20-month-old Avery Edwards in April 2017 at a home near Rhinelander.
In his closing argument to the jury Thursday morning, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek admitted he didn’t know exactly what happened to Edwards the night of April 14, 2017. But he was confident Tran was responsible.
“Was she holding him by the legs? I don’t know. Was she holding him by the arms? Throw him against the wall in the bathroom? I don’t know. But all of those bruises are consistent with something like that,” Schiek told the jury, according to the WJFW report.
Police say Tran called 911 at around 6:25 p.m. the night of the boy’s death and was the only adult in the home at the time.
Defense attorney Jonas Bednarek argued unsuccessfully that there were too many alternate possibilities, from influenza to an accidental medication overdose, to explain Edwards’ death.
“I can’t tell you exactly what happened,” Bednarek said. “I wish I could, but I can’t. And nobody can.”
Bednarek also called out Tran’s husband and the father of the boy, Trung Tran, as a suspect in the case.
“Is there suspicion there? Damn right,” Bednarek told the jury. “He is not a good man. We can all agree on that. He is a bad man. He’s a bad father. He’s a bad husband. Dammit, he was probably a bad doctor, too.”
The couple has since divorced.
Early in its deliberation, the jury asked to review a report by a Marshfield Clinic doctor who inspected Edwards’ body after death.
Her sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
Photo and reporting courtesy of WJFW